Friday, November 22, 2013

My Story - Endometriosis: Part IV - Post-Baby

My baby boy was beautiful. Perfect. Truly perfect.

He was breach, so by having a c-section, his head came out perfectly round with no pointed crown. He had flawless skin and has only started developing freckles as he's aged. He didn't have any birthmarks. He had eyes so dark it was difficult to see what color they were, but then they turned a cool gray/green. He was, and still is, beautiful.

Sydney knew what he wanted, too - his latch was unmistakable. He grew quickly and is still a big eater. I nursed him for nearly 3 years. And because he ate nothing but breastmilk for the first 7 months, the hormones to produce the milk prevented anything else from happening with my endometriosis. It was wonderful. I started to think the pregnancy had "cured" everything.

When Syd turned 7 months old and started solid food, the milk production obviously reduced. With the reduction, the pain started to return.

Over the course of the next few months, the waves of pain, discomfort, and bleeding began to increase exponentially. It was manageable while I still nursed primarily, but as Syd began eating increasing amounts of solid food, and reducing the amount of milk, the symptoms grew.

By the following August, in 2011, I was experiencing so much pain my doctor recommended we try an IUD to control the hormones and help alleviate the excruciating discomfort. During work week of the school year, I paid a visit to my doctor. And I regretted it.

We were to wait up to 3 months to make sure the hormones were working. Every month that passed, I kept hoping that "it would soon be better - by next month, I would be fine." Every month that passed got worse. And the end result of what was transpiring was a solid four-month stretch that I wouldn't wish on anyone. Here, there are details I will refrain from going into - but something had to change.

In December, I read a book that spoke of the uses of progesterone to treat any number of maladies in "aging" women - not menopausal - not perimenopausal, but premenopausal women. I was absolutely miserable. To be quite honest with you, I've shut out some memories from that time (less than a year ago) and can only say that I was ready to just get everything taken out.

At my next doctor appointment, I discussed everything - laid it all out on the table. I'm sure I was instrumental in causing her to be late with subsequent appointments, but frankly, I didn't care because I was desperate for something to change. We immediately removed the IUD and the doctor asked I keep her up to date on how my body was sorting itself out.

I fought to try to do whatever I could to help myself. I increased water consumption. I tried regular exercise. I increased natural foods - grains and fresh veggies. I tried to monitor my sleep and, even with a young one, maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Nothing worked. My body was all over the place.

Three months later, I started bleeding. Hard. And bad. I, again, will refrain from detail. But it came to a point one afternoon where I called the doctor's office on my way home and asked the nurse to do whatever she needed to do to 'fix it.' I was absolutely desperate lest my home life and my career be compromised. She called me back within 20 minutes and told me when to be at the hospital for an ablation.

Less than a week later, I had an endometrial ablation. I was very lucky in that the outpatient surgery coincided with the beginning of our spring break, so I did not miss out on any school. However, I did not get anything done for school that week, and I missed out on a lot of play time with Sydney. The end result was initially quite worth it, though.

Since the ablation, I have had absolute negligible amounts of bleeding - nearly 2 years later. The procedure rectified the weakness that accompanies loss of blood, and the loss of blood, itself, but it has done nothing to remedy the pain, the bloating, the discomfort of endometriosis, nor the cravings, the irritability, the acne, the bloating that accompany a normal menstruation cycle.

Essentially, I still have the exact same problem as before, minus the expulsion of endometrium cells. I call these my "non-period periods." In addition to my "NPPs," I also have near constant pressure on my lower abdomen and lower back pain. I can no longer sleep on my stomach as it makes my lower back ache far too much. I have trouble lecturing for too long in class because standing for extended amounts of time makes me feel like someone is squeezing me in a vise. I am miserable during our SoL testing because we are not supposed to sit - we have to be constantly moving to monitor the students as they test and these tests last for hours on end. I have to watch how I pick up my son, how I play with my son, how long I spend time doing chores around the house.

I hate this aspect of my life. I refuse to let it derail the plans I have. It sidelines me, sure, but it won't win. The problem is, I'm not even sure having a hysterectomy would rectify the situation in any manner. So, it is a game of "how much can I take before I must lie still with a heating pad." It is a constant reminder to me that I struggle to do what I should be able to do without blinking.
Photo courtesy of https://www.violetpetalstudy.com/FAQ.aspx?l=e
I know this path in my life is far from over. I just wanted to let others know where I've traveled in hopes of helping someone - anyone - who experiences the same situation. So, to all my Endo Sisters, stay strong and refuse to give in. I'm here for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment